Sandra Aamodt, Ph.D., is a freelance science writer. From May 2003 to April 2008, she was the editor in chief of Nature Neuroscience, the leading scientific journal in the field of brain research. Before becoming an editor, she did her graduate work at the University of Rochester and was a postdoctoral researcher in neuroscience at Yale University. She lives in northern California with her husband, a professor of neuroscience.
Kids do what scientists call over-regularize. They want everything to be the same.
The brain is the most demanding organ that your circulatory system has to feed.
When you tell a child "You’re so smart," you’re unwittingly encouraging a fixed mindset.
Bilingual children show better ability to follow abstract rules, to reverse rules that they’ve learned already.
Children’s dreams are a really interesting window into their developing minds.
The basics of social behavior come from the brain’s emotional system, which is an important contributor to empathy and morality from infancy through adulthood. Babies often cry when they hear another baby crying, because knowing that another person is unhappy makes them feel bad.
Does knowing that sweets are dulces in Spanish help a child learn to resist a tasty treat? It may indeed, as people who learn two languages gain cognitive advantages that extend well beyond the ability to communicate with others.
As any parent of a distractible seven-year-old knows, the neural circuits involved in self-control are some of the latest-developing parts of the brain. This important set of abilities is worth the wait, though—as well as some parental effort. Parents can accelerate the development of self-control by encouraging their children to pursue goals that are challenging but not impossible, a moving target that depends on the child’s age and individual abilities.